Young Republicans of Indiana organized a prescription drug take-back event Oct. 3. From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Zionsville Police Dept. were stationed in the parking lot at Jennings Field next to Zionsville Community High School, accepting unused pharmaceutical drugs from persons age 18 and over. The goal is to encourage members of the community to clean out their medicine cabinets and remove unused prescriptions, making the drugs less accessible to the general public. The officers properly dispose of the medication.
Zionsville resident and homeschool student Claire Nieshalla helped organize the first event in April. As Miss Fall Festival 2018, she addressed the issue of substance abuse and focused on how to prevent it. The first event was sponsored by Young Republicans and Young Democrats clubs at ZCHS, among other partners. Nieshalla said the Young Republicans have continued the effort.
“This was the second (take-back event) at Zionsville High School,” Nieshalla said.
She noted that the volume of prescriptions dropped off is surprising for a small community.
“Last time, we had three or four boxes full of unused prescription drugs and it was like, ‘Wow, that’s all from our community.’ That was a big wake-up call,” Nieshalla said. “Even the (Zionsville) mayor was kind of amazed by how much Zionsville alone brought that day.”
Fishers High School students held a simultaneous event. Between the two events, 47.5 pounds of prescription drugs were collected.
“The last event was the first ever (take-back day) at a high school location,” Nieshalla said. “Because of that success, other schools have been interested as well. It’s really taking off statewide, which is what we hoped.”
U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks, U.S. Senate candidate Mike Braun and State Rep. Donna Schaibley all visited the event to speak with students.
“We were able to inform them and they were able to inform us,” Nieshalla said.
Also joining the conversation was ZCHS Principal Tim East. Nieshalla said it was interesting to hear his perspective. She said she is grateful to the school, ZPD and the Boone County Sheriff’s Office for making the event possible.
“The Zionsville Police Dept. and Boone County Sheriff’s Office have been so supportive,” Nieshalla said. “People from their office were out there all day today. They do so much to keep the opioid crisis under control.”
The Young Republicans of Indiana aim to make the initiative a statewide effort. The next take-back event will be in Carmel from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 20 in the parking lot of Creekside Middle School.